Angelina Jolie has briefly addressed the allegations of domestic abuse she’s made against her former husband Brad Pitt, and said that she feared for the safety of her children during their marriage.
Speaking candidly to the Guardian last weekend, Angelina said that she feels “broken” amid a “horrific” ongoing custody battle after filing for divorce in 2016.
In case you need catching up, Angelina and Brad — who were first romantically linked in 2004 — shocked fans in September 2016 when she filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
Almost five years on, and the pair — who are now legally divorced — still appear to be embroiled in a turbulent battle regarding the legal custody of their five minor children: Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 15, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 13. Their eldest son, Maddox, 20, is not included in the custody rulings because he is no longer a minor.
Back in 2016, news of Brad and Angelina’s divorce came as a surprise to many fans, with some even speculating that an affair or incident may have led to the sudden split. At the time of the divorce, Angelina’s estranged father, Jon Voight, told BuzzFeed News that “something severe must have happened.”
It was later understood that Angelina’s decision to file for divorce followed a complaint made to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services that included charges of child abuse against Brad.
The charges — of which Brad has since been cleared — were regarding an alleged incident between him and Maddox, who was 15 at the time, on a private plane from the US to Europe. It has been widely reported that Angelina filed for divorce just five days after this incident took place.
At the time of the investigation in 2016, Brad reportedly told the FBI that he had shouted at his son, but insisted that he did not attempt to physically harm him, his wife, or any of their other children.
The actor has since also admitted that he was facing difficulties with alcohol at the time and subsequently attended Alcoholics Anonymous following the divorce.
And legal filings obtained by the Blast earlier this year alleged that Angelina has confirmed that she is willing to offer “proof and authority in support” of alleged domestic abuse by her former husband.
Now Angelina has spoken out about the ongoing custody battle and allegations of abuse, telling the Guardian, “I...I’m still in my own legal situation.”
“I had an experience in the States with my own children, and I thought...well, human rights, children’s rights,” the mother of six said, seemingly regarding the incident of alleged abuse.
“I remembered the rights of the child, and I took them out and looked at them and thought, Well, these are for when you’re in a situation and you want to make sure there is support for the children in your life,” she continued.
“Then I found out the US hadn’t ratified the rights of the child. One of the ways it affects children is their voice in court — a child in Europe would have a better chance of having a voice in court than a child in California. That said a lot to me about this country,” she added.
When probed on the topic, the actor apologized and stated that she couldn’t speak more directly about the situation amid the ongoing legal battle.
However, despite being “sworn to silence,” Angelina gave a “nod” to the interviewer when asked if her comments were in reference to her divorce from Brad and the abuse allegations she has made against him.
When questioned if she ever feared for the safety of her children during her marriage, she answered, “Yes, for my family. My whole family.”
She added, “I’m not the kind of person who makes decisions like the decisions I had to make lightly. It took a lot for me to be in a position where I felt I had to separate from the father of my children.”
Angelina has previously been vocal about her decision to divorce Brad, telling Vogue India last year that the split was the “right decision” for the “well-being” of her children.
And despite stating on numerous occasions during the Guardian interview that she isn’t able to talk in detail about the subject, she acknowledged that her divorce from Brad has been traumatic and left her feeling “broken.”
When asked about how emotionally draining the five years since she filed for divorce have been, she responded, “I mean, in some ways it’s been the last decade. There’s a lot I can’t say.”
She added, “I think, at the end of the day, even if you and a few people you love are the only people who know the truth of your life — what you fight for or what you sacrifice or what you’ve suffered — you come to be at peace with that, regardless of everything going on around you.”
Of the ongoing custody conflict, she said, “It has been so horrific that I almost have to see it as a godsend to be in a position to be able to fight this system. It doesn’t start with the violation [the plane incident]. It’s so much more complicated than that. My 17-year-old, for example, has been denied a voice in court.”
The Guardian profile comes after Angelina was met with criticism earlier this year from family law attorneys who disagreed with her wish for her children to testify in court against their father as part of the custody battle.
Angelina suggested that it would be a betrayal of her children’s rights for them not to testify if they wished to, with her lawyers claiming that three of the children have asked to give their testimony.
But aside from the legal disputes and ongoing custody conflicts, she said that all she wants is for her “family to heal” — and that includes Brad.
“It’s not that I want to talk about anything, really, because I just want my family to heal. And I want everyone to move forward — all of us, including their dad. I want us to heal and be peaceful. We’ll always be a family,” she said.
In what sounded like promising news, the activist told Harper’s Bazaar in 2019 that she made the decision to buy a home in California so that her children could be near Brad, revealing, “Right now I'm having to base where their father chooses to live.”
However, in a new development regarding the former couple’s custody battle, it was reported last week that Brad requested a review of a California appellate court's ruling to disqualify the private judge he and Angelina chose to oversee their custody dispute.
This comes after Judge John Ouderkirk was disqualified from the custody case, resulting in the abandonment of all of his previous decisions, including a ruling that granted Brad more time with his children.
The judge — who was formerly a private judge for the couple and even officiated their wedding — was disqualified after Angelina’s attorneys argued that his rulings could be biased as a result of his personal links to Brad.
Buzzfeed News has reached out to representatives for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for comment.
Angelina Jolie Has Filed For Divorce From Brad PittStephanie McNeal · Sept. 20, 2016
Brad Pitt Denies Angelina Jolie’s Claim That He Hasn’t Been Paying "Meaningful" Child SupportClaudia Rosenbaum · Aug. 8, 2018
Angelina Jolie Explained Why It's "Not Possible" To Direct Movies After She Divorced Brad PittBen Henry · April 21, 2021